Seeing Myself In The Conversation – Part 2

Seeing Myself In The Conversation – Part 1

In the past I have kept myself on the outskirts of the body conversation. I would dip my toe in but not really want to get wet. If you had asked me why, I would most likely complain and throw my hands up over the hypocrisy of it all. I would hold my own experiences with my own body out in-front of me like a shield and avoid anything that could possibly be common ground. Nobody could tell me what this body gig was like. I lived it. You keep you and your body talk over there, thank you very much. I have traveled this road people. You have no idea. So back it up and leave me alone.

I was stuck inside my story. My eating disorder, even when recovery was the road I was traveling, was my excuse to stay small. That said, my healthy sized ego was convinced that in order to be a part of the conversation, I needed answers. I was still trying to find those solid answers but my search felt more like nailing jello to a wall.

I don’t have one story, one day, one moment where this all changed and I decided it was time to shift my perspective and jump into the pool (aka conversation). It has been this slow moving progressive force wearing away at the shield I was holding up until I noticed I could finally see people on the other side and allow myself to be seen.  This simple yet profound act of vulnerability makes all that judging and complaining all the more difficult.

We all have a story and our bodies hold these stories. It took us our whole lives to get here. Our bodies, for better or worse, were with us for the ride.

My body remembers being 7 and doing cartwheels in my backyard for hours. I remember the freedom.

My body remembers being 12 and beginning to believe small, pretty, and desired were what was needed for happiness. I remember the fear.

My body remembers being 16 and the exhaustion that came from going days with nothing but gummy bears and water. I remember the pain.

My body remembers being 26 and growing my first baby. I remember the awe.

My body remembers being 35 and fitness was a top priority. I remember the energy.

My body remembers being 40 and what it felt like to have put on new weight and to begin to navigate a new kind of body.  I remember the fear and freedom that were suddenly crashing together.

My body now knows being 41. It is beginning to remember and move in new but old ways once again. It never really forgot.

My body has a story for me to own.

 “ When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” ~Brene Brown

It is true that that talking about how we see, feel, and relate to our bodies can be complicated and uncomfortable. It requires a vulnerability that is simply more convenient to avoid. I had said in my earlier post that I wanted to float in this pool (aka conversation). I said that I wanted to lay on my back, feel the sun on my face and let go. Well, I thought about this image and what it really meant. Although a peaceful one, it didn’t feel completely accurate. You see, I want to write a brave new ending. I want to do this with an awareness that comes from rooting down in truth. My body has been waiting for me to remember what it never forgot. I have the strength to stand.

Answers still feel like jello to me.  This conversation is deep, wide, and there are waves to jump. We are all bound to find ourselves treading water from time to time. My hope is that as we find our own footing, we reach out and remind one another to simply put our feet down.

Our shared body story is pretty messy one. We can totally drain ourselves with a never ending doggy paddle of complaints, judgement, and flat out avoidance (I am speaking mostly to myself here). Or we can own where we are and what we got. Let’s allow our bodies to remind us of what has always been true, our truth is all the ground we need to stand tall.

Here’s to a brave new ending.

 

Seeing Myself In The Conversation – Part 1

I am sick of body talk. I don’t want to talk about it let alone write about it. I feel like…enough already. Ya know? I mean we are full fledged attacked with messages about our bodies every flippin’ day. Seriously, you open facebook (maybe that ages me…take any social media that fits here) on any given day and your sweet innocent brains will be required to pin point, decipher and digest a kajillion different messages within minutes.

There is the push for health.  Like the pictures of the home cooked healthy meals people are eating, the endless gym selfies, quotes & memes about body health from life coaches and body gurus, and all those body loving articles, programs to learn self love that you need to sign up for, books that you need to read to learn to love yourself……….all telling us to be happy with the skin we’re in.

 

Let me just say. I support this movement with all of my own skin and all that’s underneath it. Self confidence, healthy lifestyle, and vibrant living are all priorities for me and in how I parent. It’s a worthy cause with a lot at stake. I’ve taken a two footed cannon ball jump into this love yourself pool. It’s just that I feel like I am just hanging around doing the doggy paddle and tiring myself out rather than letting go, flipping over to my back, and floating. I want to float people. I want the sun on my face while I allow and be and all that goes with this sort of sweet, I am who I am and I am pretty freakig awesome, surrender.

My frustration, and why I am still doing the doggy paddle, is due to all that we are up against and the mass confusion that the conflicting messages are causing in our same sweet innocent brains.

 

On those same social media sites (and mind you I am not even touching radio, movies, video games, billboards, magazines, or the simple conversation over lunch with friends and co-workers) you are also bombarded with the opposite. Ok, so this may be a silly one to start with but what the heck. Let’s just take those fast forwarded recipe videos (the ones that suck my brain cells out while I sit and watch the whole thing knowing I will NEVER attempt to make them) for example. The majority of these are for foods that we have labeled at tasting “good” but being so “bad”.  That whole mentality of good and bad around food and body is messing with us. What we eat and how we exercise are not a question of morality.
Why do we feel the need to torture ourselves with what we think we “shouldn’t” have or do? Or why are we unable to just enjoy it for crying out loud? If we loved ourselves wouldn’t we want to go with good? But then there is the question of what you have deemed “good”. Are we saying it is good to eat and do things that feel good and be an in the moment and throw caution to the wind person OR are we saying it is good to eat and do things that are what we perceive as healthy for us in the long run and be a kale eating marathon runner who meditates and does mirror affirmations? I know I may be simplifying this (or maybe I am too all over the place to make any sense of it at all) but these are the questions I ask myself and what I see my girls beginning to question for themselves.
Seriously, a commercial with a big boobed, tight abs, short shorts..you get the picture…..girl eating a big fat burger. There is so much societal crap to unload on this one that I will not attempt to dive into right now. However, I will say that it is CONFUSING.  Listen, I vote for her eating the burger, 100%, but we cannot deny the mixed, warped message it is sending little girls when it is followed by a Jenny Craig commercial.
We are telling our little people to love and enjoy all of who they are BUT, if you want the world to love you too, be sure to do it in a tight, small, and airbrushed body.
Ugh. My brain hurts.
So here I am, ready to talk about it all. My need to have this conversation is less heady and more gut level. My hesitation comes from the fear of making it too personal or not seeing the bigger picture. Yet, I can’t avoid it. I already did the cannon ball into this pool. If I am ever going to enjoy the sun on my fabulous self loving face, or be able to teach my girls to enjoy that same light, I have to be willing to drop confusion as my excuse to keep swimming. I have to be willing to allow whatever surrender looks like for me to support my letting go.
I can see my reflection staring back at me here. It’s time to be part of the conversation.

She Knocks Me Over

She is always knocking things down. Her lack of control over her own body, crashing into things and people around her, can take me over my not so far away edge these days. She is the tiniest, waifiest elelphant that has ever walked this earth. That long, lean body can make more noise than the rest of the family, plus the dog, put together just walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She is forever waking us up. We go to blows quite often. She pushes all the right buttons. She literally doesn’t know when to stop, always taking it a step to far. She is loud, oh so very loud. She possesses a never ending supply of energy that I have a hard time comprehending.

 

Yesterday we had a come to blows day. We were both a little more than the average Monday kind of cranky. It consisted of some snottiness, some quick to react-ness, some eye rolling, some loud sighs, some (tuned out) lecturing, some failed attempts at “better” and, ultimately, some hurt feelings.

 

On my end I know I was a ridiculous kind of tired. I was physically, emotionally and mentally tapped. I left work setting my expectations high for a quiet easy evening. I craved the space to just be, to not have to try, and to relax into some homey love. I was hoping. I was making plans. I was digging my heels in the ground for this peaceful dream.  It would help me. It would make my life easier. It would be good for me. This is what was needed……..for me.

ME. Me me me. ME.

Well, my middle lady was feeling the same way. She had her own slue of exhausting experiences. She was also hoping to come home and find the refuge she craved. Time to be herself, all of who she is without apologies, even the loud bits. Eleven is no joke. How easily I have forgotten.

 

I put the girls to bed and climbed into my own. Finally, a moment to myself. Feeling both the victory of making it through, along with the sting of what the night had held, I took out my computer to write. Just as I was settling down enough to really let it all sink in, my middle lady came barreling into the room and headed straight into my bathroom. How is she so loud? and so stinkin’ cute? She is getting so old but in those PJs, my God,  I am reminded of how young eleven really is.  I take a deep breath and begin feeling pretty awful about our night of nastiness. I promise myself that I will talk to her in the morning. I will own my stuff. I will be the adult, the parent, and say I am sorry. I will give her the love she was so obviously craving.

 

Just then she comes out of the bathroom and directly over to the side of my bed. As I watch her, ready to open my mouth and say a bunch of words, she stops me by leaning over and giving me a massive hug. The kind that make you close your eyes and sigh.  I am silenced. She hugs me for a good amount of time, not rushing any of the endless supply of love she has to give. She leans back, gives me a kiss and tells me she loves me. A lot. She asks what I am doing. I tell her I am going to write for a little while. With a sleepy yet knowing smile on her face, she tells me not to stay up too late.. Before she leaves, she reaches down and gets my blanket to cover me, telling me to stay comfy and warm as she blows one more kiss and heads back to bed.

 

Oh this kid. Knocking me over once again.

How did she just do that? How did she become the teacher here? Again. She has been doing this since before I even held her in my arms for the first time, teaching me what it means to let love lead. She is my greatest teacher by far. And I get to be her mom. I get to know what it feels like to love and be loved by this force.

I am convinced that the elephant like presence is due to the vast amounts and endless supply of grace that this kid holds. I know for sure that she is going take this world on making noise, knocking things over, driving you nuts, and waking us all up. Her LOVE is that big.

My job is to be her safe place. A place she is free to be all the things. A place she can be covered in grace. A place she gets tucked in for a warm and cozy night with kisses and long hugs. A place she is reminded of who she really is. A place where is is loved.
I get to be her mom, I am the lucky one.

Truth Rd.

I am stumped. Full fledged writers block. I don’t think I have ever really experienced this. Maybe because I never considered myself a real writer. Or maybe because stumped was a non-issue. No ideas, I just didn’t write. No one to give me the nudge, nothing to motivate me. I wasn’t a writer after all, so why should I push myself?  I just flat out didn’t do it.

Now here I am, committed to a challenge. A challenge I would like to strangle at the moment, if I am honest. Like seriously, why would I have ever thought this was a good call for me right now. I can barely fit time into the day for a load of wash and then I went and plopped this “Oh look at me I am going to write and publish (?!?!?!) something for 31 days…aren’t I so cool” Challenge right on top of the 37 baskets of laundry that need to be washed or sorted or, my personal hell, put away.

Thank God for sisters. Mine refused to let me quit this bad boy even though…..I really wanted to.  Here’s the deal, they know that on some other level, one deeper and wider than piles of laundry, that this is what I need. It is bringing me somewhere. Where? not clear as of yet. But somewhere out there. Somewhere that I need to go.

So, I am committing to this thing. Again. I will pull something out of my heart and my head or, possibly, out of my ass.  I will put something down on a page. I can’t promise it will be fabulous. I can’t promise it will make sense or even be decent.

I can promise that it will be true.

So, reminding myself (with the help of two bad-ass sisters) that….

I am doing this because it is true for me. Truth is the road I want to walk on. It is where my freedom walks, ever so patiently, along side me.

And because I crave the company of truth tellers, if you happen to need the reminder (or loving kick in the butt), allow me to pay it forward……….

Don’t quit. Keep walking this road of your truth. If you have taken a detour, come on back. Starting walking again and do it with a shit ton of grace for yourself. Listen, we are all human and detours are a necessary part of this journey. Sometimes they are fun, until they are not anymore. Or maybe you have been here trudging along. Is it time to switch it up? Take your time or run, your gut will guide you. Let’s just stick together, huh? Your truth, along side of my truth, in the midst of some shared truths with freedom leading the way.

Not Today

My intention was to take my rare free hours today and write like a mo fo.

Turns out today wasn’t about writing.

Today was about getting my butt out of bed to work out. This is new but old but new again behavior for me. Each time feels like a small victory.

Today was about cheering on my middle one at her last outdoor soccer game of the season. It was particularly cold and windy this morning but watching her out there is the best. And those bright fall trees, incredible.

Today was about being with a friend who needed to talk over a quick coffee that turned into a four hour let’s skip over pleasantries and get down to the nitty gritty. My favorite kind.

Today was about cleaning out a closet. Why does this feel so damn good?!

Today was about putting up some Halloween decorations to surprise the girls when they get home. Simple but I know they will be psyched.

Tonight is about finding a good movie, most likely with some English accents so I can dream about my future summers spent in England.

And wine. Tonight will be about a glass or two of good wine.

I’ll be back.

 

 

Jackson Is The Coolest

 

When my younger sister had her first baby, just five months after I had my first, I thought I wanted it to be a girl. I had a girl. I had sisters. They would be like sisters. I thought this would be cool.

 

Then she had a boy.

 

From that first moment I peaked in on him in the hospital nursery, I was taken. My gut got a jolt. Oh, so it is you. That is why you are a boy. You are you. And you are what we have always needed.  

 

 I was so in love with that little shit with skinny long but scrunched up frog like legs. How could something so out of what I was imagining be so right? So good? How could I love this kid so freaking much so fast? But I did.

 

Jackson William has had my heart from day one.

 

My little girl and my sister’s little boy were like brother and sister, a relationship I never had and never could have imagined. They never knew anything different. To this day they make each other laugh when nobody else knows what they are talking about, they call each other out on things they would take anyone else out for saying, and they can hang for days without a blow out and only get closer from it.  It is one of the most authentically rich and for lack of a better work, cool,  relationships I have had the privilege of witnessing.

 

When the kids were about three or so we went to the mall with those two packed in their strollers. This mall had one of those tiny little parks in the middle of nowhere. The ones I swore, before I had kids of my own, that were nothing but petri dishes of germs, and I would never allow MY children within 10 feet of them. Then my sister and I are trying to have a conversation with two whiny and loud three years olds who spot said park.  Needless to say, I’ve spent many a hour at those petri dishes.

 

This particular time I remember my sister and I tag teaming while we tried to continue our conversation. She’d be helping one on the slide, I be helping the other one on the bouncy turtle. Whatever.  All was fine and dandy until I looked up and saw my nephew at the top of the slide. Some * %$# older kid grabbed my nephew by his hair. (And let me just say, this kids had, and still has, a head of hair any woman would kill for. Already at three, it was a full mop of beauty) Anyway this big &*^$ kid grabs my nephew by his hair and starts to pull him down the slide. At that moment my sister was off with my daughter and didn’t see what was happening. She didn’t really have to because the noise that came out of me gave her a good enough heads up. Holy crap, it was a noise I never knew lived inside of me. It was deep, guttural and it scared the living daylights out of &^*% kid.  I got myself together and I gave the big kid a little talking to as I held my nephew close. We survived it together.

 

I think I remember this moment so vividly because it woke me up to something I kinda sorta knew but didn’t really fully get. I knew when I had my first little lady that it had all brought me to that moment. Being her mom was what my life was about. All part of the greater good kind of thing. It was always her (and the two that followed ) What I had not realized was it was the same for my nephew (and the four that followed). Just as much as I was meant to be Grace’s mom and just as much as my sister was meant to be Jackson’s mom…….I was also meant to be his aunt. We were connected and linked together forever. Something I will never take lightly.

 

Now this kid is thirteen. He is still a skinny little shit. He has also turned into something I am having a hard time finding the words for. I am still taken by him but in ways, once again, I never saw coming.

 

He stops me in my tracks with his absurdly witty and smart ass humor. Wise ass doesn’t do him justice. He pushes the envelope and often finds himself in some trouble. That said, he really is ridiculously funny. He blows my mind with his beyond his years intuitiveness and ability to really see what is around him. This also can get him into trouble. There is a lot to see. Our world is broken and bleeding.  At thirteen, actually at 41, this is not easy to navigate. But above all of this, the thing that literally awes me, is his creativity. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising. Both his parents are artists on many levels. He grew up in it. However, his artist soul is just that, it his soul. It oozes out of him even when he doesn’t understand what is happening. His instinct to create and make things has been the “who” of who he is since forever.

 

He inspires me.

 

Thirteen is a funky age. I think there is little wiggle room with this fact. I remember this more than Grace and Jack would ever think was possible in my ancient years. They think at 41 that I have “grown up”. I got older, did the grown up things like get married, have kids, get a job. They may look at me as a finished product. Little do they know that I am growing up right along with them. They have no idea that I want to be like them when I grow up.

 

Watching Jackson push buttons with the very same qualities that hold his brilliance, is like watching life lessons in reverse. He is showing me that the very things that made me feel different and weird at thirteen, are exactly what I am learning to hold as my own brilliance today. Even more, the different and weird people are by far the coolest. They are exactly who I choose to be around today. If only I had known this at thirteen.

 

Jackson is the coolest and being his aunt has been one of the all time coolest things to ever happen to me. More than I could have imagined.

 

I want to hold him and his skinny ass, fluffy head self and tell him to root down NOW. Root into the different and weird now dude. We need your brilliant skinny ass to rise in this broken world. You are exactly what we have always needed.

Sitting Through Sunsets

I am day late on this one. I didn’t post anything yesterday. I had written something in the morning and tried to edit it all day. I was still up and working on it at 11pm when I finally decided to let it go. I wasn’t able to wrap it all up in one post like sitcoms seem to do in the 1/2 hour. I had to let the sun set without figuring it all out. It just never felt right. As much as I tried to tie it all together it felt too all over the place and random.

Truth is I was having a shitty day and I was attempting to write my way through it. This is typically helpful for me.  I get to dump it all down on a page and see it for what it is, allowing my mess to gain some clarity. Yet, this is usually done without a blog.

There are moments in life when writing and/or sharing, even when you are smack in the middle, is the most brilliant thing you could do. It creates connection and conversation that shine a light on the places that growth is needed. Then there are the moments of life that beg for more time.  They cannot be rushed. They require sitting through more sunsets while breathing and finding your roots once again.

Yesterday I tried to write about what I was feeling in a covert way. I was trying to be real without really being real. I had not found my footing yet. I was attempting to rise before the rooting. I was basically trying to get one passed you and in the process, it all started making less and less sense to me. What was I even trying to say? So, no post.

I did not, however, scrap it. I kept it for me. I will go back and get real with it. I will take out the phony and add the nitty gritty. I will find my footing and recognize my roots.

What I do know is that each sunset I am present to is preparing me for the connection and conversation that being here can bring. I look forward to rising with you.